MARYLAND

Landover warehouse collapse: Officials search for worker

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Rescue crews are continuing to actively search for a worker who is believed to be trapped inside a Landover warehouse that collapsed late Thursday night.

Friday afternoon, dozens of construction workers and rescue crews are still desperately trying to find the man they believe is trapped under a mountain of debris.

Prince George's County Fire spokesman Mark Brady told ABC 7 that fire investigators are confident that the man they are looking for is trapped inside the building.

But on a day when the temperature hit 104 degrees--the hottest June day in Washington weather records--a difficult job is even harder.

"He could have sustained fatal injuries, but we are looking at this as still being a rescue mission," Brady said Friday.

A forklift operator knocked over an enormous metal storage shelf loaded with documents. This caused a domino effect, pushing over rack after rack; eventually taking out a support for the roof.

The whole thing came crashing down about 10 p.m. Thursday.

Some of the worker remained on site all night and into the day while rescue workers tried to locate the missing forklift operator. employees throughout this industrial park kept up a constant quest for information.

The missing man's wife remained on site throughout the day. She and rescue workers say they are holding on to hope.

Officials say that two large cranes have been brought in to help move debris from an area where the worker is believed to be. A K-9 search and rescue unit is trying to locate the person.

Authorities say about 25 employees were inside the building on Cabin Branch Drive when a portion of a side wall began to buckle along with a portion of the rear wall. Officials say about 90 percent of the building eventually collapsed.

Lt. Jacqueline Riley says it was a major collapse and that the roof is gone, the Associated Press reports. The building is reportedly very unstable.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, a spokesperson for Recall, the company that operates the building, said that 12 employees were immediately evacuated from the building and that one remains unaccounted for.

A rescue team along with a K-9 unit searched for the missing employee, but couldn't find them overnight. The man has not been seen or heard from since the collapse and his car is still in the buildings parking lot.

Meanwhile, officials are reviewing surveillance video to see if the worker possibly left the building before the collapse occurred.

About 75 firefighters responded to the scene, evacuating the building and securing the gas, electric and water utilities.

The warehouse is a massive document storage operation. The building stores boxes of paper files on tall shelves, many of which toppled over during the collapse. Officials are trying to determine if the impact prompted the collapse.

Nearby warehouses, including a Pepsi-Cola and Whole Foods distribution warehouse, were evacuated as a precaution. 

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